Smiling woman unboxing a package in her living room.
From considering customer feedback to incorporating useful and unique technology, there are several ways small businesses can create personalized experiences for customers. — Getty Images/ljubaphoto

A new study shows consumers yearn for products and services tailored to their specific preferences. Researchers determined consumers shopping from their smartphones were more likely to want unique items — or items tailored to their tastes — over items deemed “popular.”

Customization can set your business and its products aside from others in your industry. Here are six tips for customizing your small business to meet consumer needs.

Create buyer personas

To tailor to a customer’s unique needs, a designer might create a buyer persona, or a fictional character that tells businesses who the ideal buyer is, what they are planning to do, and what problem they need to solve with the product or service in question. These personas might include information like age, gender, location, and interests.

Buyer personas will help businesses understand the wants, needs, goals, and uses of consumers. Identifying various consumer needs will help target a product’s value to a certain audience. The buyer personas will also collect information businesses need to demonstrate the difference that could be made if the product was customized to the consumer’s preferences.

[Read more: Personalization Perfected: How 5 Companies Are Leading the Way on Customizing Everything]

Consider customer feedback and requests

Consumers are often already suggesting what a business can do to make their experience better on the buyer’s end. The feedback may be in regard to a feature that already exists, which means the consumer is asking for customization. Support tickets and feedback forums are great places to view suggestions for personalization features and are easy steps to begin customizing for your consumers.

Factor in the customer journey

Consider the customer’s point of view when buying your product to ensure they have a great experience before and after purchase. Customization can happen at every stage of the buyer’s journey and often leads to more sales. Understanding the consumer’s journey — and each “point” they will visit — prior to purchasing your product gives you more points to customize. After purchase, you can offer personalized customer service to the buyer so they continue to feel they’re receiving a customized, tailored experience.

[Read more: How Shipt Is Leaning Into Personalized Same-Day Delivery Trends With New Partnerships From Sephora to Small Businesses]

Consider the customer’s point of view when buying your product to ensure they have a great experience before and after purchase. Customization can happen at every stage of the buyer’s journey and often leads to more sales.

Start small

Don’t try to customize your entire business at the start. Instead, begin on a small scale by offering exclusive customizable options to a select group of consumers or specific products, then build from there. Offering exclusive personalization options to “loyal customers” as gifts or add-ons can be an easy way to test out customizable options and gauge their success. Additionally, offering just one type of customizable product can limit the amount of work you’ll need to do in the beginning. Starting small not only helps you work your way up to more customization options, but it will also prevent you from overwhelming customers with too many options.

Use technological opportunities to enhance offerings

Utilize technology to enhance your customizable options, and think outside the box for ways consumers can customize your product to fit their needs. For example, maybe your business offers custom-made shoes. Wouldn’t it be great to use online technology to allow consumers to see their shoe options on their (digitized) feet before purchasing? The more opportunities buyers have to be sure they like your product, the better chance you have of creating a lifelong customer. Explore different tech to determine which best supports your customization goals.

[Read more: 4 Types Of Technology That Can Help Grow Your Sales]

Analyze scalability

Don’t be afraid to test your methods. Customizable options are not a one-size-fits-all opportunity to embed in every product and service you provide to consumers. Begin testing personalization efforts with established products to see what works and what doesn’t, and ask for feedback from customers when doing so.

The testing results will help your business determine if you need to think of new products or if there is a way to redesign items you already have to promote more traffic. It’s also smart to be cost-conscious and try testing out customization with things that don’t affect your budget. Again, start small and analyze your scalability to determine your profitability.

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

To stay on top of all the news impacting your small business, go here for all of our latest small business news and updates.

CO—is committed to helping you start, run and grow your small business. Learn more about the benefits of small business membership in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, here.

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Published September 28, 2022